New manager, new owner, new direction — That's been the theme in the Royals’ clubhouse spring training. Each player knows the expectations for this year and that’s to leave the 100+ loss seasons in the past.
Pitcher Daniel Lynch said that manager Mike Matheny has made his expectations for the team "very clear."
"It's to get the very best out of us everyday,” Lynch said. “When he was a manager for the Cardinals, I remember growing up and watching him, and just to have that guy speaking to us everyday and saying, 'What's up?' to you in the cafe, it's really cool. And I think he's got this place going in the right direction."
Although Matheny means business, he said wants his players to enjoy the process.
“We have stuff we have to get done," Matheny said. "Let’s talk about things that are most important, but after that, let's not be afraid to realize that this is a game, and we can have a good time and let people’s personalities shine, who they are. I believe I could have been a better player if I had known how to mix a little more fun and enjoy.”
Players, like second baseman Nicky Lopez, said that in addition to the culture shift, Matheny's daily meetings leave the team motivated and fired-up before practice.
“You can tell everyone is listening with some intent," Lopez said. "People are listening to every single word he says because, you know, he’s kind of a presence. Anything he says, you kind of want to run through a wall for him."